John Lewis Christmas campaign centres on 'overlooked' type of family

John Lewis' much-anticipated Christmas campaign, which launches today, is themed around the retailer's commitment to help young people in the care system.

Entitled ‘The Beginner’ and set in the Christmas period, the film's opening scene features a middle-aged man as he struggles to master the skill of skateboarding.

Viewers are left questioning the motive behind his perseverance until the final scene when there is a knock at the door and we see a social worker standing with Ellie, a young teenager who is anxiously waiting to enter.

‘The Beginner’ is set to a soundtrack of All the Small Things, a cover of the Blink 182 track, performed by Mike Geier.

It follows the recent launch of the ‘Building Happier Futures’ programme from the John Lewis Partnership, which is a long-term commitment to help young people with experience in the care system, including assisting them to find careers.

John Lewis said it will directly support children in care and young people leaving care through the Christmas period with donations of decorations, food and gifts.

Claire Pointon, John Lewis’ director of customer, said: “As a purpose-led brand, making a genuine difference in our communities is important.

"At John Lewis, we care deeply about families and recognise that they come in many different forms. For our biggest moment of the year, we decided to focus on one kind of family that is often overlooked."

The campaign was created by adam&eveDDB with input from partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland, as well as specialist advisors, throughout the production process.

Gillian Taylor, head of external communications, John Lewis Partnership, told PRWeek:"This year we have been even more thoughtful than usual about how we launched our campaign. 

"It was incredibly important that right from the first concept to the finished product, we looked at every choice we made through a communications lens and that we listened to the feedback from our charity partners and those members of our wider team who have care experience."

The earned media campaign elements included briefings across trade, lifestyle, consumer affairs and broadcast media. A behind-the-scenes video has also been shared with selected influencers to help extend the reach.

Imran Hussain, director of policy & campaigns for Action for Children, said: “At Action for Children we want every child to have a safe and happy childhood.

"Every year, we work with over 40,000 children and young people in, or with experience of, the care system, and we know the challenges and poor outcomes they may face."

A teaser of the new campaign was released yesterday.

John Lewis Christmas campaigns through the years...

2021: Last year's offering, 'Unexpected Guest', focused on the tale of an unlikely friendship between a young boy called Nathan and a space traveller called Skye.

2020: 'Give a little love' encouraged the nation to spread kindness and drew inspiration from the British public’s response during the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than a long-form narrative, the spot comprised nine different vignettes and styles of animation, which illustrate everyday acts of kindness.

2019: John Lewis returned to a loveable monster protagonist in its first combined Christmas campaign with supermarket sibling, Waitrose & Partners. Edgar, an excitable dragon, absolutely loves Christmas but every time he is near something festive, he snorts out flames.

2018: The retailer looked to the Rocket Man for its festive offering in 2018. The film depicted the impact a gift can have on a young child's life, showing a young Elton John receiving a piano, then following the star through his glittering life.

2017: Another monster, this time called Moz, was the star of John Lewis' 2017 campaign. A little boy called Joe strikes up an unlikely friendship with the 7ft Moz, who lives under his bed.

2016: The 2016 film focuses on the joy of jumping - for a little girl, Bridget, who receives the gift of a trampoline, and for a host of friendly animals (including her dog, Buster the Boxer).

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